Last month, my uncle died. He was my dad’s older (and only) sibling. He was caught by what nearly killed Dad- atherosclerosis. My dad got a quintuple bypass in June. My uncle died in his sleep, the day before his 64th birthday.

My uncle was an asshole. He retired a Major in the Marines, always falling short of his father, who retired as full Colonel. He was often deployed, burning through 2 wives and 3 sons in the process. He would down a handle of vodka and say the most racist shit I’ve ever heard while teaching his youngest son in the process.

He was also my favorite uncle as a kid- hunting for sharks’ teeth at Onslow Beach, checking my form when I (a girl) got interested in target practice. Later on he would often call me after drinking, and I stopped answering after a while. I gave him the nickname ‘Drunckle —’, which even dad adopted. We would still send Christmas cards- apparently it was a big deal that he personally sent one to me.

My last memory of him is a few years ago, when my Mom’s mom died, and he drove 4 hours so I wouldn’t be alone at the service. He even took the most obscene stickers off of his truck.